Elect 2012: Parties host events for VP debate
By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY - Though tonight's debate isn't presidential, local political parties are still making an event out of it.
The first and only debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan will be held from 9 to 10:30 p.m.
Rowan County Republicans will meet at 6 p.m., as they are on the night of every presidential and vice presidential debate, said chair Greg Edds. Party members will make phone calls and then watch the debate together at the NC Victory Center, the Republican headquarters at 118 S. Main St., Salisbury.
Veleria Levy, chair of the Rowan County Democrats, said Democrats also plan to make phone calls for local candidates first and then watch the debate. The party's debate event will start at 8 p.m. at 1411 W. Innes St.
Levy said she thinks the choice of a vice president is very important in a presidential election.
"When you look at the running mate that Mitt Romney chose in Paul Ryan and things that he stands for -the items that he plans on cutting - it tells you lot about what his underlying agenda is," Levy said. "There's some things that would be a little bit different in the two, because President (Barack) Obama is not exactly like Joe Biden... but the basic idea of your plan moving forward should be at about the same line."
The debate should be exciting, Levy said, and she expects Biden to do well.
Edds said he thinks the debate could be "very entertaining," and he thinks people are interested to see what the vice presidential nominees have to say about Obama's and Romney's plans.
"We are told that (vice presidential debates) are typically not very important," he said. "I think this year will be an exception."
Edds said Romney's choice of Ryan as a running mate showed that he's serious about paying attention to economic issues.
"Certainly, no one can question the economic and budgeting credentials of Rep. Ryan," Edds said. "Although they may not agree with his solutions, he certainly brings a tremendous amount of knowledge to the table."
The debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky., will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.
According to the Associated Press, Biden has been preparing for the face-off in his hometown of Wilmington, Del. He held two mock debates there with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who is playing the role of Ryan.
A strong performance by Biden, a former senator who essentially made a career out of debating colleagues, could quell nervousness among some Democrats, though neither party expects undecided voters to be swayed by the face-off between the running mates. Ryan's challenge is to overcome his lack of foreign policy expertise or national debate experience against Biden, who has extensive experience on both fronts.
"Believe you me, I understand this man is extremely experienced, he's a gifted speaker, he's a proven debater," Ryan said on "The Frank Beckmann Show" on Detroit radio station WJR. "So we definitely have our work cut out for us. But the problem the vice president has that he just can't get around is he has to try and defend Barack Obama's record, and it's not a very good record to defend."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.